News from El Arish: Gaza Freedom March
Dr Rupert Read, Eastern Region Green Party Co-ordinator
GAZA FREEDOM MARCH - BREAKING NEWS
PETER OFFORD DETAINED IN EL ARISH, EGYPT
As some of you may know Norwich Stop the War President, Peter Offord, is
one of the international delegates travelling to Gaza to take part in the
Gaza Freedom March. With him he is taking in art supplies to assist the
Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza. He and his colleagues were hoping to
enter Gaza through the Egyptian border.
However we have learned today that the Egyptian police are stopping
international delegates from travelling to the Rafah border, where they
intended to cross into Gaza to take part in the March. Currently Peter is
around 40 kilometres from the Gaza border, which has been closed.
This evening he has forwarded the message printed below explaining that he
was among those detained in El Arish, to which the message refers.
We must do all we can to ensure that the march is allowed to proceed and
materials are delivered..
PLEASE CONTACT THE EGYPTIAN CONSULATE CALLING FOR THE BORDER TO BE OPENED
AND INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES AND AID TO BE ALLOWED TO ENTER GAZA.:-
The Consulate General
2 Lowndes Street
London SW1X 9ET
Tel: 020 7235 9777
020 7235 6562
Fax: 020 7235 5684
Frank M Stone
Convenor Norwich Stop the War Coalition
Egyptian Security Forces Detain Gaza Freedom Marchers in
el-Arish and shut down Gaza Memorial in Cairo
What: Egyptian security forces detain internationals in el-Arish, break up
memorial actions in Cairo
When: Sunday, December 27, noon: the Egyptian security forces detained a
group of 30 internationals in their hotel in el-Arish and another group of
8 at the bus station. They also broke up a memorial action commemorating
the Cast Lead massacre at the Kasr al Nil Bridge
At noon on 27 December, Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30
activists in their hotel in el-Arish as they prepared to leave for Gaza,
placing them under house arrest. The delegates, all part of the Gaza
Freedom March of 1,300 people, were Spanish, French, British, American,
The Egyptian security forces eventually yielded, letting most of the
marchers leave the hotel, but did not permit them to leave the town. When
two younger delegates, a French and Japanese woman, attempted to leave
el-Arish, the Egyptian authorities stopped their taxi and unloaded their
Another group of eight people, including citizens from American, British,
Spanish, Japanese and Greece, were detained at the bus station of Al Arish
in the afternoon of December 27. As of 3:30 PM, they were still being
Simultaneously, Egyptian security police broke up a commemoration of the
Israeli invasion of Gaza organized by the Gaza Freedom March at Kasr al
Nil Bridge, one of the main bridges connecting Zamalek Island, in the
middle of the Nile, to Cairo. As a non-violent way of commemorating the
more than 1300 Palestinians killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza that
began a year ago on December 27, 2008, Gaza Freedom Marchers tied hundreds
of strings with notes, poems, art and the names of those killed to the
"We're saddened that the Egyptian authorities have blocked our
participants' freedom of movement and interfered with a peaceful
commemoration of the dead," said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, one of the
Benjamin added that the Gaza Freedom March participants are continuing to
urge the Egyptian government to allow them to proceed to Gaza. They
visited the Arab League asking for support, various foreign embassies and
the Presidential Palance to deliver an appeal to President Mubarak. They
are calling their supporters around the world to contact Egyptian
embassies and urge them to free the marchers and allow them to proceed to
Corrected version of Peter's piece in the OBSERVER last week. Sad, but inspiring reading.
Let him be given a peerage!...:
-- Rupert Read Green Party Councillor, Norwich. http://rupertread.net [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on email@example.com]
16 December 2009
Coalition of Women for Peace to Tzipi Livni:
"Cooperate with any international investigation against you"
This morning (Wed. 16/12/09), the Women's Coalition for Peace sent a translation of the Goldstone Report to Knesset Member Tzipi Livni (head of the opposition and Foreign Minister during the "Cast Lead" offensive), who received notice of a warrant for her arrest in Britain this week. In a letter attached to the report, Coalition members wrote: "we are convinced that if you refer to the report you will understand why British citizens and organizations have turned to the courts with a request to issue a warrant for your arrest."
The report directly refers to remarks by senior political figures in Israel which encouraged indiscriminate attacks on civilians, in contradiction of international law. It is in this context that MK Tzipi Livni is quoted as saying, on 13 January 2009, that "we have proven to Hamas that the equation has been altered. Israel is a state that, when its citizens are shot at, will respond insanely. And that's a good thing."
Furthermore, runs the letter, "the Goldstone Report details a long list of indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations [ ] In addition, the report surveys the extent of the damage to industrial infrastructure, food production, water facilities, sewage infrastructure and residential buildings; the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields and the targeting of medical staff. The testimony of Israeli soldiers corroborates the allegations made in the Report that during Cast Lead heinous war crimes were committed.
"The attention of the Goldstone Commission was drawn to the way the military operations affected women particularly adversely. The responsibility of women towards their homes and children forced them to deal for a period of weeks with extraordinary difficulties caused by impossible conditions which denied them of the means of sustenance including access to food, water, heating supplies and protection against the rain, shelter, intentional attacks on civilians, destruction of infrastructure and denial of medical attention. Women suffered most of all from the attack which you helped lead, and for which you served as the international spokesperson.
"As a feminist organization active in Israel, we consider that only a process of legal investigation and prosecution of war criminals by the international community has the power to bring a measure of justice to the women and men of Gaza. In our opinion the correct reaction on your part to the Goldstone Report would be a coming to terms with the wholesale murder with which you collaborated freely as a senior minister in the Israeli government as part of an election campaign. We call on you to cooperate with any international investigation that may be opened against you and to counsel your colleagues in the government and military to do the same.
For more details:
Please contact Eilat Maoz, General Coordinator, Coalition of Women for Peace
"This is a ridiculous half-way house decision that satisfies nobody. Building only part of the route undermines any claim that the road is a bypass: the NDR can never again be called the 'northern bypass'. It will result in gridlock in North East Norwich, especially if the road building is accompanied by large scale housing growth and a failure to invest massively in improved public transport.
"It is no wonder that the route has been dubbed a 'road to nowhere'. It is an utter waste of taxpayers' money. The Government really should have made a clear decision about the priority for investment. £67.5million would make an enormous different to Norwich residents if invested in creating a first class public transport system to enable people to get around the city in an efficient and affordable way".
Pleased that the INDY today published my letter on why it's not 'Climategate':
I commend The Independent on being one of the few media outlets not using the term "Climategate" in news coverage. That is the term preferred by those who deny the existence of man-made climate change, to refer to the recent illegal hack into the email systems of the Climatic Research Unit [CRU] at the University of East Anglia.
I find it surprising that so much of the rest of the media has fallen for this term. For "Climategate" seems to suggest that there is some serious doubt raised about our knowledge of the world's warming climate by the emails that have been made public: but our knowledge of the dangerous climate change that greenhouse gases are creating is of course largely consensual and uncontroversial.
Dr Rupert Read
Department of Philosophy
University of East Anglia
...However, irritated that they cut what I thought was the best line in the whole letter:
"The use of the term 'Climategate' as promoted by manmade-climate-change-deniers to attack mainstream climate science is extremely ironic, in that it appears blatantly to ignore the real, central parallel between so-called 'Climategate' on the one hand and the Watergate scandal [after which the CRU hack has apparently been renamed] on the other: that both are scandals about criminal theft operations in which innocent people have been targetted and abused for political purposes - Nixon's Democrat opponents, in Watergate, and leading environmental scientists, in so-called 'Climategate'."